Baerbock calls on Russia to end war immediately at OSCE conference

30.11.2023, 14:52

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop his war against Ukraine,during the conference of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Thursday.

"Stop the unspeakable suffering you are bringing upon millions of people," the German minister said at the annual meeting of ministers in the North Macedonian capital Skopje.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was not in attendance during her speech, which Baerbock commented on.

She called him out by saying that as at other international meetings, he was obviously only in the room "when he himself was speaking, but not to listen to others."

Stopping the war "does not require negotiations, it certainly does not require concessions from Ukraine," Baerbock said.

"What is needed is a decision by Russia to abide by the basic principles of this organization, the OSCE, to withdraw its troops and recommit itself to peace."

Baerbock also criticized that three members of the OSCE observer mission in Ukraine were still being held captive by Russia, which was also "a brutal violation of our common OSCE rules," she added.

In order to maintain the OSCE's ability to work, an extension of the terms of office of Secretary General Helga Schmid and the OSCE representatives for democracy, media freedom and minorities is necessary, she said.

Schmid and her three colleagues would otherwise have to vacate their posts at the beginning of December. "If a compromise is needed, then we are ready. But compromises of compromises are no longer compromises, they are a complete blockade."

"Saving the OSCE means safeguarding our people. This is our responsibility," the minister wrapped up her speech.

The organization has 57 members, including both Ukraine and Russia with the meeting lasting until Friday. The group has been in crisis since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Russia is blocking key decisions, such the OSCE's budget.